Country Rap History
The Late Great Pimp C said; “If you dont know your Country Rap History how could you possibly know where you are going”
The Geto Boys
The original “Ghetto Boys” consisted first of Raheem, The Slim Jukebox, and Sir Rap-A-Lot. When Raheem and Sir Rap-A-Lot left, the group added DJ Ready Red, Prince Johnny C, and Little Billy (the dancer who later came to be known as Bushwick Bill). The first single the group released was “Car freak” in 1986, which then followed with two LPs “You Ain’t Nothin’/I Run This” in 1987, and “Be Down” in 1988. The group released their debut album in 1988 entitled, Making Trouble. With the release receiving very little attention, the group broke up shortly thereafter and a new line-up was put together with the inclusion of Scarface and Willie D, both aspiring solo artists. This new line-up recorded the 1989 album, Grip It! On That Other Level. The group’s 1990 self-titled album, The Geto Boys, caused Def American Recordings, the label to which the group was signed at the time, to switch distributors from Geffen Records to Warner Bros. Records (with marketing for the album done by WB sister label Giant Records) because of controversy over the lyrics.
After Willie D left the group, Scarface and Bushwick Bill continued with the Geto Boys with the addition of Big Mike who made his debut appearance with the group on 1993’s album, Till Death Do Us Part. Although Till Death Do Us Part was certified gold, it was not as well received by fans as the lyrically gifted shoes of Willie D, who also wrote for Bushwick, proved too large to fill for Big Mike. However, the album did spawn one top 40 hit in “Six Feet Deep” which peaked at #40 on the Billboard Hot 100. Subsequently, Big Mike was dropped and Willie D returned for 1996’s critically acclaimed The Resurrection and 1998’s Da Good Da Bad & Da Ugly which Bushwick was not a part of. After three years on hiatus, the group reunited in 2002 to record its seventh album, The Foundation, which was released on January 25, 2005.
UGK (short for Underground Kingz) is a Southern hip hop duo from Port Arthur, Texas formed in 1987 by the late Chad “Pimp C” Butler . He then joined with Bernard “Bun B” Freeman, who became his longtime partner. They released their first major label album, Too Hard to Swallow, in 1992, followed by several other albums charting on the Billboard 200 and Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts, including the self-titled Underground Kingz album which debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 in August 2007. The group has been featured on hit singles by other artists, such as on “Big Pimpin'” by Jay-Z and “Sippin’ on Some Syrup” by Three 6 Mafia. Pimp C founded UGK Records in late 2005.
In 1992, UGK was signed to Jive Records under a five-album contract, releasing their major-label debut album Too Hard to Swallow. While it featured several new recordings, it also featured several songs that had been culled from The Southern Way. However, several songs that had been intended to be included on the album were excised at the last minute, apparently due to their overly explicit content. Five of these songs would surface two months before the release of Too Hard to Swallow, on an EP distributed by Bigtyme Recordz; appropriately enough, the EP was titled Banned. A popular song from the album “Pocket Full of Stones” was also included on the Menace II Society soundtrack in 1993.
Their second album, Super Tight, was released two years later, on August 30. Unlike their previous album, Super Tight managed to break into the Billboard Hot 200 and ultimately peaked at #95; their third album, Ridin’ Dirty, peaked at #15. Ridin’ Dirty would also be UGK’s last album for the time being, as they went on a five-year hiatus not long afterward.
The year 2000 became a breakthrough year for the group. UGK made a high-profile guest appearance on Jay-Z’s smash hit “Big Pimpin'” and also appeared on Three 6 Mafia’s hit “Sippin’ on Some Syrup”. Both of these collaborations greatly increased their reputation, and helped fuel anticipation for their next project.
Further problems arose when Pimp C was incarcerated for an aggravated gun assault charge in 2002.
Outkast (stylized as OutKast) is an American hip hop duo based in East Point, Georgia, consisting of Atlanta native André “André 3000” Benjamin (formerly known as Dré) and Savannah, Georgia-born Antwan “Big Boi” Patton. They were originally known as Two Shades Deep but later changed the group’s name to OutKast. The group’s original musical style was a mixture of Dirty South and G-funk. Since then, however, funk, soul, rock, electronic music, spoken word poetry, jazz and blues elements have been added to the group’s musical palette.
After forming the group as high school students in 1992, Outkast released its debut album Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik (1994), which gained popularity after the single “Player’s Ball” reached number one on the Billboard Hot Rap Tracks chart. The duo released ATLiens in 1996, which displayed stylistic differences from the band’s debut and featured outer space-inspired themes. The albums Aquemini (1998) and Stankonia (2000) further expanded Outkast’s musical experimentation. In 2003, the duo released a double album entitled Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, which featured the number one singles “Hey Ya!” and “The Way You Move”. The group starred in and created the soundtrack for the 2006 musical film Idlewild. Since 2007, Outkast has been on hiatus and both members have pursued solo careers, although the group moved to Epic Records in September 2011.
The duo is one of the most successful hip-hop groups of all time, having received six Grammy Awards. Over 25 million copies have been sold of OutKast’s eight releases: five studio albums, a greatest hits release, and the Grammy Award-winning (for Album of the Year) Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, a double album containing a solo album from each member. Along with their commercial success, OutKast has maintained an experimental approach in their music and are widely praised for their originality and artistic content.
8 Ball & MJG
Another Southern Hip-Hop duo from Memphis, Tennessee. The two rappers Premro “8Ball” Smith (born 1972) and Marlon James “MJG” Goodman (born 1971) met at Ridgeway Middle School in 1980.
8Ball & MJG first appeared on the rap scene with their 1992 underground album Listen To The Lyrics. In 1993, they released Comin’ Out Hard on Suave House Records, the album was successful commercially as well as critically and established the group as a prominent act in the then emerging Southern Rap scene. Their subsequent albums in the 1990s including 1994’s On the Outside Looking In and 1995’s On Top of the World further established their status among the South’s rappers. On Top of the World was particularly successful, peaking at #8 on the Billboard Hot 200 and being certified Gold. It includes the song “Space Age Pimpin’”, 8Ball & MJG’s first single to chart, reaching #58 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles and Tracks chart and #22 on the Hot Rap Singles chart.
In the early 2000s, the duo signed with Sean Combs’ Bad Boy Records. They already had some experience with the label, being featured on the song “The Player Way” from Bad Boy rapper Mase’s 1997 album Harlem World. Their first album for Bad Boy, Living Legends, was released in 2004 and certified Gold. Their second Bad Boy album Ridin High was released in March 2007.
Commercially one of the high points of 8Ball & MJG’s career was their being featured on Three 6 Mafia’s hit song “Stay Fly” in 2005 which peaked at #13 on the Billboard Hot 100. It is Three 6 Mafia’s biggest hit. The song was a collaboration between two of Tennessee’s most successful rap groups.
In June 2008, the duo announced that they officially signed onto T.I.’s record label Grand Hustle. Their eighth album as a group and their first on Grand Hustle, Ten Toes Down, was released in May 2010. It reached #36 on the Billboard 200 in its first week. In 2012 they released a statement to the public, “working with Mr. 11:59 p.m. will be a challenge, but with bringing the old school with the new school is what this generation needs to hear”.
Organized Noize is an Atlanta-based hip hop production company made up of Rico Wade, Ray Murray and Sleepy Brown.
Among the hit records they have worked on include TLC’s “Waterfalls”, En Vogue’s “Don’t Let Go (Love)”, and Ludacris’ “Saturday (Oooh Ooooh)”. They are most notable for producing a large amount of material for OutKast (including all of Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik and “So Fresh, So Clean” from Stankonia) and Goodie Mob (including all of Soul Food and “They Don’t Dance No Mo” from Still Standing). Both groups are part of Organized Noize’s Dungeon Family collective, which also includes Slimm Cutta Calhoun and Joi, among others.
They also contributed on the soundtrack of the 1996 critically acclaimed heist film Set it off. In 2006, they contributed additional music to the film Miami Vice. In 2010 they produced several songs on the critically acclaimed Island/Def Jam solo debut from Big Boi titled Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty. In 2011, they produced the entire album “Nappy Dot Org” for Nappy Roots.
The Dungeon Family is a hip hop/R&B/soul musical collective, based in Atlanta, Georgia and specializing in Southern hip hop with heavy funk and soul influences. The group derives its name from “The Dungeon”, the name given to record producer Rico Wade’s basement studio where many of the early members of the collective did their first recordings. Rico Wade, Ray Murray, and Sleepy Brown constitute the production/songwriting team Organized Noize, who have produced hits for the main popular Dungeon Family groups OutKast and Goodie Mob.
Only once has the collective been brought together for a project: the 2001 collaborative album Even in Darkness.
Three 6 Mafia
The group started in 1991 in Memphis with DJ Paul (Paul Beauregard), Juicy J (Jordan Houston) and Lord Infamous (Ricky Dunigan). Big P of Hughes Arkansas better know as Preston Jones is the Originator. The original name for the dark hip hop group was “Backyard Posse”. The group formed through the release of numerous EPs from their own record company with Nick Scarfo, Prophet Entertainment, which were sold around Memphis and the Mid-South. Later DJ Paul and Juicy J formed their own label, Hypnotize Minds Records. During their early career, they also propelled the careers of several other rappers. Eventually added before the release of Mystic Stylez were rappers Koopsta Knicca (Robert Cooper), Gangsta Boo (Lola Mitchell), and Crunchy Black (Darnell Carlton).
The group expanded and help start the careers of notable Mafia affiliates such as Project Pat, Al Kapone, La Chat, Lil Wyte, T-Rock, Killa Klan Kaze, Playa Fly and Indo G. The production acumen of Juicy and Paul also brought about a number of side projects such as Tear da Club Up Thugs, Hypnotize Camp Posse and Da Headbussaz as well as independent label ventures.
At this point in the group’s evolution, having signed to a major label and having scored an admirable hit single, group leaders DJ Paul and Juicy J began extending their brand. They started by releasing solo albums by Gangsta Boo and Koopsta Knicca, solo albums by their affiliates and compilation-styled albums such as collections of tracks from earlier years (Underground Vol. 1: (1991-1994), Underground Vol. 2: Club Memphis, Underground Vol. 3: Kings of Memphis).Three six mafia also made the word crunk but the artist Lil John stole the word and yells it out like if he made the word himself.
Robert Earl “DJ Screw” Davis, Jr. (July 20, 1971 – November 16, 2000) was a Houston, Texas-based DJ. He was known as a central figure in the Houston hip-hop community and was the creator of the now-famous Chopped and Screwed DJ technique. This creation led to his nickname of “The Originator.” Davis was recognized for his various mixtapes and albums mostly on a regional level, until after his death. His legacy was discovered by a wider audience when Houston hip-hop began reaching a national audience in 2005.
DJ Screw was born in Bastrop, Texas, not far from Smithville, Texas. His father, Robert Earl Davis, Sr., was a long-haul truck driver based in Houston. His mother Ida May Davis (who had a young daughter from a previous marriage), came to the area to be with her mother when her son was born in 1971. She returned to Houston, but the marriage was floundering; soon it would be over, and she and her kids moved to Los Angeles for a couple of years, then back to Houston, and returned to Smithville in 1980 at the age of nine.
DJ Screw has been a considerable influence in the Houston scene, which is sometimes referred to as “Screwston” in his memory. His distinct musical stylings influenced countless rap acts. Alternative weekly The Houston Press named the 1995 album 3 N’ Da Mornin, Part 2 as no. 13 on its list of the 25 best Houston rap albums of all time. The newspaper credited the release for the way it helped shape Houston’s hip-hop culture. The newspaper also referred to Chopped and Screwed music as the second most likely type of music to be associated with Texas, an example of DJ Screw’s influence in the region